Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Home is the Sailer, Home from the Sea

Spent last weekend aboard a 40 foot sloop noodling around the Apostle Islands along Superior's south shore. We had wind, rain, and high seas. Consequently, we spent each night moored in a marina rather than tucking into some harbor amongst the islands. And since we were in a marina, that meant that there were plentiful opportunities to sample the nightlife surrounding such. This left me with numerous bruises of unknown parentage that plague me still. Sailing was great though. Gives me thoughts of chucking it all and taking to the sea as soon as my youngest is off to college (next year).

We will see (or is it "sea")?

It's transition time for the seasons here in northern Minnesnowta. Temps are dropping. Winds are rising. The clouds are changing from the puffy cotton ball variety and the towering mega cell storm monsters that float through our summer skies, to the low, dark, sky-cloaking clouds of winter that promise snow before we are ready for it.

With that in mind, I am going to re-join the local ski patrol as a way of getting outside and exercising on a regular basis. This means weeks of schooling during the fall to pick up the necessary first aid and outdoor emergency care certificates I will need, followed by on-the-hill training as soon as there is white stuff on the ground.

This is the third time I have done this. If you are a ranked patroller and you quit patroling for any time, you lose all of your certificates and ranks. If you want to start again, you start at the bottom and work your way back up. Seems a little silly, but that's the way it is. So, I cannot wear my old patrol jacket with all of my patches. I must don the garb of the initiate and pretend I know nothing for a season.

I don't mind all of that so much since I am doing it for the exercise and the social networking aspect. My needs will be satisfied regardless of my "rank." If I get to help someone in need - so much the better.

This time of year also means that hunters in this neck of the woods are checking their guns and brushing up the training of their dogs. I look forward to walks in the woods with our remaining dog - a ten pound terror that goes by the name of Saffron. She cuts quite the figure when out in the woods, dressed in a red t-shirt with the name "Princess" in rhinestones on the chest, overlaid with a hot-pink harness, and topped off with a day-glo orange hunting cape. She has stopped more than one hunter in their tracks when they encountered her on the trail.

The fact that she is more interested in chipmunks than game birds is beside the point. The point is the walk in the woods with all the sounds, smells, and colors of fall.

It is also back to school time. I have successfully delivered my oldest to her third year at university and my youngest has begun his senior year of high school. The house is very quiet during the day now.

My days are taken up with the necessary projects that go with the return of fall and the pending winter. Cleaning gutters and getting the gardens and shrubs ready for cold weather. Moving the mower to the back of the garage and the snow-blower to the front. Swapping the summer wheels off and the winter wheels on the cars that have more than one set. Finding all of the ski equipment and making sure all is well there. Thinking about whether to try for an annual letter to mail out to those kin and friends that don't read blogs or facebook. Checking my hot buttered rum supplies and putting the gin and tonic stuff to the back of the cupboard. Buying new smart wool socks. Thinking about letting my hair start growing out again.

In short - preparing.

Ciao fer niaow.